RAWALPINDI: The divisional administration has begun identifying historic buildings that could be tourist attractions, and developing more hill stations in Rawalpindi.
Divisional Commissioner Saqib Zafar told Dawn the Punjab government had asked for more hill stations to be developed in Rawalpindi to reduce the burden on Murree, and for historic buildings to be refurbished to attract visitors.
He said the government sees the promotion of tourism as a basic entity of economic policy, and new tourist spots will be developed under a comprehensive tourism police in Punjab.
Forest rest-house in Kahuta, Rohtas Fort and Alexander the Great monument in Jhelum to be restored
He said he has visited Kahuta, Kotli Sattian and Jhelum and identified three places that have the potential to attract visitors.
Mr Zafar said a forest rest-house in Narar, Kahuta, has been identified that would be used to house visitors. It was built in 1902, at 1,980 metres above sea level, and is a potential site for a hill station for visitors to the district, he said.
He said he had inspected the rest-house and found it would be refurbished to provide accommodation. It was also rebuilt in 1993, but needs repairs.
Under British rule, more than 200 men from this village went to fight in World War I and 35 died, he said. A plaque in their memory has been installed in the village.
The divisional administration is considering making the area a new hill station, and the government will be briefed in this regard for approval to begin work, he added.
In addition, Rohtas Fort in Jhelum would also be improved, by constructing roads and providing other facilities. The fort was made in era of Sher Shah Suri in the 16th century.
“The monument of Alexander the Great in Jhelum, where the battle between Raja Porus and Alexander was fought, has also been identified for revival. The Green embassy constructed the monument in the past, but it will be made attractive for visitors,” he said.
Mr Zafar said a picnic spot has also been identified in Jhelum, at Rasul Headquarters between Pind Dadan Khan and Mandi Bahauddin.
He said the provincial government’s programme to provide facilities at tourist spots would create jobs for locals, and the government will ensure security arrangements so people can visit without any concern.
The deputy commissioners of Chakwal and Attock have also been asked to identify possible tourist sites, and the district administration would send reports soon.
In Rawalpindi city, he said, a programme to revive the city will begin soon and the Parks and Horticulture Authority has started work in this regard.
He said historic buildings in the city areas will be refurbished.
Published in Dawn, July 8th, 2019